12 must-do things to do in Kuala Lumpur

Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur

Visiting Kuala Lumpur: what are the best things to see and do in Malaysia’s capital?

We know very little about Malaysia, don’t we? Unlike its Southeast Asian neighbors such asIndonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, for example, Malaysia remains little-known. And yet, for those who want to visit the capital, Kuala Lumpur, it’s the assurance of experiencing a radical change, whether in terms of religion, climate, habits or local gastronomy. But what is there to see in Kuala Lumpur? How can we inspire people to discover this wonderful city that never seems to rest?

To help you plan your stay, we’ve listed some of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur!

1. Petronas Twin Towers

Tours Petronas, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – Ikhlasul Amal

It’s impossible to remain indifferent to these two buildings: symbols of Kuala Lumpur, they rise to a height of 452 meters and have 88 floors. Inspired by Malaysia’s Islamic model, the Petronas Towers house offices, stores, a concert hall and a multimedia center. The two towers are linked by a skybridge 170 meters above the ground. The Petronas Towers are a must-see in Kuala Lumpur if you want to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and its surroundings, and understand the majesty of this place.

2. Batu Caves

Grottes de Batu, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – James Sann

Located some 10 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves are a resolutely Hindu sanctuary. Several temples were built directly into the rock. The walk is quite simply breathtaking: just look at the main cave, known as the Cathedral Cave, which is in fact a long corridor several hundred meters long. At the foot of the caves you can climb a huge staircase topped by a 43-metre-high statue. The interior of the cave is illuminated by a natural opening in the ceiling, a sort of permanent skylight. The cave is a favorite haunt of monkeys (macaques), who lie in wait for tourists to steal their food. Be sure to zip up your bags! The place is simply mind-blowing! A renowned pilgrimage site throughout Malaysia, where thousands of devotees gather every year for Thaipusan.

3. KL communication tower

Tour Menara, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – Vineet Radhakrishnan

Also known as the Menara Tower, it dominates the Kuala Lumpur cityscape, reaching a height of 421 meters (note that the Eiffel Tower rises to 320 meters « only »!). Access to the tower is via a platform 276 meters above ground level. For those who can afford to spend a little money, a meal at the restaurant at the very top of the tower is a must, offering a sensational 360° panorama of the whole of Kuala Lumpur. The Menara Tower also offers a range of activities, from a Formula 1 simulator to a chance to learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Malaysian culture.

4. Little India

Little India, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – Eduardo M. C.

This is one of Kuala Lumpur’s cultural districts: here, you’re guaranteed to taste the country’s finest Indian cuisine. From the smells to the colors to the flavors, all your senses will be put to work in this place where the word « crowd » is an understatement because it’s so successful.

5. The orchid garden

Jardin des Orchidees, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – gordontour

In the midst of the teeming jungle that is the heart of Kuala Lumpur, here’s a little paradise of serenity and greenery. Perfect for relaxing and getting away from it all, reading a book or simply listening to the birdsong, the Orchid Park boasts a multitude of flowers, each more incredible than the last. Come and admire water lilies and roses of all shapes and sizes in a place of unique natural beauty.

6. Jalan Bukit Bintang

Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – Phuket@photographer.net

This street is one of the best known in Kuala Lumpur: in fact, this is where you’ll be able to do all your shopping. Between the trendy boutiques and the shopping malls, you won’t be able to leave Jalan Bukit Bintang without having paid a penny. Why not visit Changkat Bukit Bintang, which offers Spanish cuisine, or Jalan Alor Street, with its Asian restaurants?

7. China Town

China Town, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – Robert (Bob) Hetherington

Like New York and Toronto, Kuala Lumpur also has its own Chinatown. It’s a paradise for knick-knacks of all kinds, as well as inexpensive restaurants. Take a trip to Central Market, the open-air flea market, which is well worth a visit.

8. Kuala Lumpur’s religious sites

Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – pavel karafiát

Kuala Lumpur is something of a paradise for anyone interested in religion. The diversity of religions offers a rather eclectic panorama of places, from Buddhist and Maoist temples to mosques. Visit the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, surely the oldest Indian temple in Kuala Lumpur (founded in 1873), and discover its formidable statues of divinities. The Masjid Negara national mosque is the place of worship for all the city’s Muslims. A guide is available to show you around this immense mosque, which can accommodate up to 15,000 people.

9. Berjaya Times Square

Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – Simon_sees

It’s the biggest shopping and leisure center in Malaysia, with 5-star hotels, over 1,000 stores, a theme park and more than 100 restaurants. Discover over 700,000 square meters!

10. Aquaria KLCC

Aquaria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – GE1013

This is a huge aquarium to visit in Kuala Lumpur. Thanks to a conveyor belt, you can see all the galleries and tanks without tiring. A must-see, especially for the sharks, which you’ll never see in the same way again!

11. Bukit Nanas

Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – Daniel Hoherd

For the ultimate adventure, take a trip to the Bukit Nanas forest reserve. A fantastic enclosed forest in the middle of the city, it’s enough to leave you breathless! Itineraries are available, but you’re free to roam as you please, especially on the various suspension bridges. Watch out for the monkeys, who like to chase visitors.

12. The Pavilion Crystal Fountain

Pavilion Crystal Fountain, Kuala Lumpur

Photo credit: Flickr – David McKelvey

This picturesque fountain welcomes you as soon as you enter Pavilion Mall. It’s one of the largest glass fountains in Malaysia. See it in operation at night, as the water continually changes color.

How do I get to Kuala Lumpur?

Getting to Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur in particular, has always been easy, as there are so many flights to the capital every day from France and Europe. You can find a cheap flight to Kuala Lumpur on the website of our partner Skyscanner. For French nationals, no visa is required. A passport is all you need to stay in Malaysia for 90 days (free of charge). No return flight is required.

Where to stay in Kuala Lumpur?

Kuala Lumpur is not a city where it’s worth staying for more than 2-3 days. It’s therefore important to stay in the city center, close to the Petronas Towers in particular. To find a cheap hotel in Kuala Lumpur, use this hotel comparator.

Have you visited Kuala Lumpur? How did you find the city?

Main photo credit: Flickr – Nico Trinkhaus

Map of hotels and accommodation – Kuala Lumpur,my